The study is called Women of the Bible. The first lesson is about Eve. I found it really interesting but about half way into the second part, I noticed that I was getting something important and I figured I better get a pen and paper. Anytime this happens, I know to just let the writing flow and see what comes out of the pen. My notes initially are brief.
Defining God's purpose for Mankind, Creation, and Eve. The second chapter of Genesis clearly define it in three verses.
God's Purpose for Mankind:
1.to be in God's image
2. to be fruitful and multiply
3 to have dominion over the earth and subdue it
God's Purpose for Creation:
1. To serve mankind
2. To provide sustenance for all life
God's Purpose for Eve:
1. Companionship - to combat loneliness and isolation
2. to share the burdens of life and help in the work of life
At this point I noted an interesting idea that never occurred to me but which I found critical in my own mind. God presented Eve to Adam. She didn't introduce herself. Adam didn't go looking for her. And they didn't need a dating site. God created her and respectfully introduced her to Adam who immediately fell in love with God's choice for him. He trusted God knew this person. Eve must have trusted that God would not introduce her to anyone that would treat her badly. They did nothing to find one another. God did it all. A match made in Heaven, indeed.
I'm aware that you internet dating type will consider this erroneous and point out that God didn't have internet and the difficulties of a huge population of losers. This is true. That's why trusting God is more important than ever. Moving on.....
At this point in my study something changed. I became aware of another aspect to the story. Eve is more than just the story of the fall. It is the start to a battle that has never ended. Temptation rears it's ugly head and Adam and Eve end up homeless. Sounds like a plot for a really good NaNo novel. I won't use it this time but let me share what I learned.
As I wrote, I remembered the time in my life when I had my own conflict over God's sovereignty.
The serpent was the most cunning creature on the planet. Once taken over by Lucifer he was literally the most intelligent being on the planet. He was and still is able to twist truth and create confusion with an unmatched finesse. He corrupts the mind and confuses thought. He transformed himself in the garden and based on both old and new testaments he has transformed himself as each age required. As knowledge of man increases, Satan must further transform himself into images that are easily acceptable to humans.
Why? Because humans have an intrinsic ability to find God and an innate desire to do so. Their initial state was to walk with him every day. Buried deep in our psyche is the desire, no, the craving to return to that state. To walk with the Creator in the cool of the day is the ultimate human longing. Satan must constantly alter his tactics to overcome changing cultures and intellects to keep ahead of man's constant search for meaning, which is actually the search for God. Satan's ultimate goal is misdirection to alter man's course. He does this by challenging God's word on intellectual levels. If he can capture our minds, he can capture our souls.
Man is incapable of understanding the mind of God in its full scope. Satan plays on this by using our own intellect as a measure of God's. We are incapable of comprehending how much we don't know and therefore, we can't possibly be a valid measure of God's intelligence.
He creates doubt in what we hear and know. "Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" Then, he restates the truth with minute changed to alter its meaning. "You will not certainly die."
Our vanity does the rest, convincing us "we've become as God". We open the door to false information, altered data & outright lies to be inserted into the mind. And we allow someone else to interpret it and tell us that what we heard is not what was meant or that it is a fallacy, or even that we didn't hear it at all. Satan uses misdirection, rephrasing God's statements. Eve was easily duped. Within moments he caused her to think differently about God and his instructions.
He has caused her to:
1. Doubt God's word
2. Doubt God's motives
3. Suggested that God is keeping good things from her. (By following her God she was actually hurting herself and missing out on something. The suggestion is that everything she needs she can find in herself.)
He never touches her but he immediately altered her thinking. Eve is no longer in control of her thoughts but is listening to a stranger rather than the being that she has been walking and talking with all her life. She never questions what the serpent is saying. She embraced it.
Once we began to question God's sovereignty and power we are already at risk. Only a strong faith, secure grounding in the Word, and an ability to recognize these deceptions will sustain us. You almost have to be versed in the tactics of a CIA agent to navigate the maze that Satan creates.
The more we measure God by our own intellect, the more our minds will become susceptible to false information. Again, constant vigilance and grounding in the Word and persistent prayer for light and truth is the only defense. These are more powerful than any deception. I can't emphasize enough the need for light and truth. If you pray for nothing else, pray for spiritual light and all truth.
At all times, even in the most doubt-filled, confused mind one must continue to acknowledge God as sovereign and holy. Regardless of any arguments that come to mind from any source. This must be the paramount response. God is Sovereign. God is Holy. To accept anything other than God's sovereignty will close the trap. We will be forced to chose. There is no middle of the road. Either God is God or he is not. Once we put our own or another's intellect above God's we will be assailed with doubt, confusion, and conflict.
This internal conflict is the actual battle for the soul. In essence the soul is being ripped apart. When we make any attempt to reconcile our faith and re-install God as King and Priest the conflict will be physically felt. There's a war going on and it hurts.
Once we being to worship our intelligence, the trend it to drift further from God and His Word. The trend will be to accept the wisdom of the world over the wisdom of God. When intellect is brought into subjection, the trend is reversed and the soul is brought back to center. The conflict eases, but may never be resolved. These forces, once they've made inroads, will always be waiting to storm the gates. Anytime anything usurps God as sovereign we can't remain stable. This is the sin of Lucifer. He brought division and imbalance to the universe. The only thing that can give him peace is the total obliteration of any knowledge of God.
Make no mistake, intellectual study is not a sin. We must be educated and we must examine things with which we do not agree. But we can't fear the things that challenge our faith. We also can't defend ourselves by running away. But we must never, ever put anything above God's sovereignty and his Word. In all things we must acknowledge God as King and Lord.